TOTW: Anarchist responses to climate change


The effects of extreme climate change, such as heatwaves, flooding, wildfires, and rising sea levels to name just a few are not confined to borders, nor the daily news headlines, but an experience many have come to expect. Breaking away from the false solutions of the State and corporate enterprises, how are anarchists reorganizing society in response to climate change?

What are appropriate anarchist responses to climate change in 2020? Are these end goals or adventures along the way? How can anarchists build solutions at the grassroots level, network with other communities of resistance internationally, and slow the world changers?

AND, take the ANEWS poll on climate change here:

There are 40 Comments

I believe in pushing a message of decentralization from mass society. Developing connections to the non human natural world. The learning of skills to break us as far out of leviathan as possible. At the same time finding the cracks within society that allow anarchy to exist even in the short term. None of these have to be explicitly anarchist projects.

I agree with this sentiment. I'm not so sure about the "consciousness raising" (pushing a message) stuff because, in my opinion, it doesn't pan out, but the learning skills, connecting with wild nature & finding cracks are all worthwhile activities. That these projects need not be anarchist feels correct to me, too.

I really like the stuff "Radical Mycology" is doing & I would love to see more projects like that. Learning to see the threads of relationships (those hodgepodge ecosystems in cities) that are around you & working to help improve/deepen them can be helpful because it might give you a sense of connection to the non-humans around you in a way fetishistic awe of pristine virgin wilderness can't.

As much as I might have certain problems with how those anarchists in Portland fixed those potholes, I think there is something somewhat beautiful in how they went about it. I would like to see DIY projects like that, which focus on bio-remediation, spring up. There's a lot that individual initiative can physically do to counter the destructive, poisonous activities of industry.

I know that there's no way to make cities a beautiful place to live in, but you can help your fellow non-human creatures have a better chance to survive there & in the long run, projects like that may help with the problem of mass extinction. Because the more that healthy ecosystems are cut off from each other (through farming, resource extraction, housing, etc) the harder it is for those species that make those places to continue the species. The more chance these species have to migrate to newer areas the better off they'll be. If the land during their trek to find new territory is even a little bit cleaner & safer the better off they'll be. So if you can clean the areas around you, which will benefit plant biodiversity, which in turn benefits insect biodiversity, etc, etc, on up the food chain, then that might give some of the rarer species a fighting chance. That there might be deer that eat the plants that wouldn't be there without something you did might give the mountain lion a meal as it sneaks through the town you live in in search a new place to live. I don't know if I'm making sense with this train of thought, but to me it makes some sort of sense.

And obviously more sabotage is nice, too.

When you say "consciousness raising" doesn't pan out, what is your metric for success? We always forget that we were exposed to new ideas/information at some point, and decided it resonated with us. I'm not into "consciousness raising" as some kind of revolutionary strategy, but it's equally silly when we act like sharing ideas with others doesn't do anything for anyone, ever.

Ok, I see what you're saying. My bad. I just went into knee-jerk mode when I read that because so much of the "spreading ideas to educate the masses" rhetoric I've heard throughout the years includes some huge, & faulty, assumptions about some grand formula for revolution. Sharing ideas is pretty important to me, I mean why else would some of us write zines, books, articles, report backs or comments on websites if we didn't find those things helpful for our own personal growth? I just wrongfully assumed that "educating the proles" was where you were coming from, too.

hey look … a schill^^^

Dig these dime store reactionaries doing their "independent media" where half the video is them acting like a jackass and then whining when people react.

That related statement from Aragorn! in the last Anews Podcast was indeed the dumbest, most orwellian thing I'd have never imagine hearing in an anarchist podcast. So we're supposed to take (a positive) part in the already-overwhelming talk on Climate Change, because it's the "talk of the century"... and whoever isn't is doomed to oblivion. Everyone let's get with the program and stfu. Forget everything you know about the small country road or the cycling trail; the highway's the only way.

Commission or it global sustainability or is it sustainable global neo-feudalism? Is there really 7- 8 billion people on this planet? How do 'we' know? How do you know? Because you've been told is the answer and you've chosen to believe it!

Oh, and anarchists such as Scott Crow broadcast how 'folk' pull together in an emergency... well, let's have a global climate emergency and we'll all pull together, right? Or is it called propaganda & global neo-feudalism and the technocracy with it's 5g 6g 7g and the internet of things, facial recognition, small meters, smart cities, electronic credit, rations, rentier, etc etc? Did people vote for 5g btw? I don't believe they did and yet very few normies ever consider that as they wave their Union Jack flag! Yes, the grunts really believe they're free now they got away from the unelected of the EU Commission etc etc!

Welcome back to Anews where have you been!?

I think framing the ecological problems we differently face as "climate change" is part of the problem. It situates the issue as fundamentally international and beyond our own ability to assess and address. We are left in the role of appealing to those organised on those international scales, powerful states and huge corporations, to take action. There is no direct action approach if we frame the problem as climate change, it is a fundamentally non-anarchist way of looking at the issue.

Science tricks us by controlling the questions asked and the kinds of information used to then produce answers that privilege certain forms of action. An anarchist approach to ecological problems would start with different questions and use means available on a human scale to arrive at a different t framing of the issue that invites different kinds of answers.

tldr, there is no anarchist approach to climate change without an anarchist approach to science.

(Cribbed from knowing the land is resistances text Towards an Anarchist Ecology)

how are anarchists reorganizing society in response to climate change?

i think the task for anarchists is to destroy society, not reorganize it. let future generations that are immune to the logic of domination figure out how to rebuild.

What are appropriate anarchist responses to climate change in 2020?

know yourselves – be infertile and let the earth be silent after ye.
also... ATTACK!
also... eat when hungry, sleep when tired.

Are these end goals or adventures along the way?

that is all there is!

How can anarchists build solutions at the grassroots level, network with other communities of resistance internationally, and slow the world changers?

i think the task for anarchists is to destroy society, not reorganize it. let future generations that are immune to the logic of domination figure out how to rebuild.


"i think the task for anarchists is to destroy society, not reorganize it"

I just hope you understand the vast load of complexity this implies.

Given how people tend to be focused on over-specific struggles and interests... Well I'd like all of our genius anarchist intellectual to rather focus on building up a strategy in that direction. Currently, there's been none, beyond the anti-developmental paradigm.

How to destroy "society"? You're talking about something existent yet non-existing. You're talking about something as invisible and intangible as relations and how they are structured, and systematized. I look at the young happy migrant families in my hood, all with cars and jobs, and seeking better, more prosperous futures for their kids... they, too, are actively reproducing "society". How to make them understand, as a White settler who got a full lifetime unrevocable citizenship just because I was born here?

I used to be fighting sprawls. Then I found a battle front I couldn't fight. An old-growth forest.. slowly destroyed by a sprawl of cheap housing for (mostly) migrants and "prole" students. I ain't making that up.

The only potential way to approach this, is perhaps by seeing the entirety of "society" as overall wrong. But what's up with you? Will you live as a hypocrite, forever despising what you take part in? Or go live on your own in the forest, with all the isolation that means?

As Nietzsche said correctly, churches are built on the ruins of others. This is how humans are. They can't just go around destroying stuff; IT DOESN'T FEED YOU, neither get you friends, a life, or whatev. They need solutions in the place of what they despise.

Or else, they just fold back to the old world, or a "better", renewed, updated version of it, like the zoomers have been doing. Having been through several uprisings with a nihilistic character, I can testify that's what happens. Every time. Most people cling to routines and patterns as their mental and moral compass. If you ain't got nothing better to offer, they'll just look back to whatever the "Existent" has to offer to them...

"If you ain't got nothing better to offer, they'll just look back to whatever the "Existent" has to offer to them..."

perhaps we have nothing to offer anyone (poor zoomers, young happy migrant families, etc) that is in any way "better" (logic of domination etc etc)? perhaps we shouldn't be so narcissistic as to think we have such great wisdom to offer when we ourselves are trapped in the same trap as everyone else? perhaps what we can do, however, is live our lives in opposition to the authority we claim we oppose? amor fati? sure. speck of dust? definitely.

The narcissism lies only in the belief that all that matters is your beautiful UNHINGED undomesticated ego that shall not be encompassed by any imperative... save some paradoxical notion of "future generations", or maybe Climate Change for some reason. Of course we are all egoists but also able to go beyond the self as we create things that are bigger than this "speck of dust".

Narcissists don't care about the "future generations". Why you believe such frivolities, my lad? Not sure I still can afford to care about the future generations, but maybe.

We bring solutions for ourselves... then if it works, allow for these solutions to expand by being shared with others. See... it's like parties... they can be cool just with a few friends in an enclosed space but we all know open houses or wild dance parties are way more fun. Or like copyleft Vs copyright... If squats would have been private they would have never become this kind of autonomous practice. Nothing to do with narcissism, on the contrary...

1. > "go beyond the self" ...
2. you've missed the prudence of my use of italics and the entire point. how embarrassing, lad.
3. wat? also spooky...

"Will you live as a hypocrite, forever despising what you take part in? "

i'd love to meet a single free-thinking individual that doesn't live, in some ways, as what you are calling a "hypocrite". ever buy anything? ever go to school? ever travel anywhere using means other than your own energy? short of absolute self sufficiency, anyone opposed to this shitstorm IS taking part in that which they despise.

for me it's about how to navigate the edges: dealing with the system when you have to, avoiding it when you can. the simpler, more self-sufficient, less enmeshed (in that system) life one leads, the easier it becomes. not a revolutionary strategy for sure, so those more interested in revolution continue to struggle with "hypocrisy" while building their revolutionary mass movement. woo-hoo!

My instinctual response toward climate change, as with all impositions upon my melon, is one of vengeful rapid degrowth by way of violent deconstruction, though I'm perennially confronted with merely satisfying myself as a lonesome flower in the field.

I do harbour a longing desire to nurture and build and interact, however it is a lamentable time for me as I have recently become persona non grata to an intentional group of individuals who were the closest thing to a thriving bunch of anarchos I could hope to find in these parts.

Still, I remember enough of power cuts and the kindness of strangers to know optimism. Though as I've witnessed in the city I witness here in the sticks, melancholy, there are too many battles lost behind the eyes. Ghosts and worm heads and tentacles, Oh my.

Internationally, as locally, I have no investment beyond the sharing of a story, with perhaps the connections staying open long enough for some of us to see the idea grab a hold...

regarding climate change??? Anarchists in particular? Do anarchists possess some other attribute that other folk don't have? Get ITS on to it: kill everyone and then we won't have to worry about anything again. 'ITS the ultimate in affinity' Catchy little ditty for y'all.

ITS doesn't do strategy by principle. You'd have to kill nearly three hundred million people a year just to offset the new births rate.

Best anarchist response to climate change-- bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. To be fair, this is everyone's best response. Why? Does anyone really think the effects of 500 years of, first, slavery and then, industrialization are going to be ameliorated by anything anyone can do now?

Okay, to be a bit less pessimistic, anarchists can start by trying to not add to the ongoing catastrophe. Stop moving about. Stop flying in planes. All the things we know about but are inadequate until the whole capitalist machine grinds to a permanent end. But, once again, this is not merely an anarchist thing. Anyone can participate. Or stop participating, as it were.

Look, we're fucked. The horror is already upon us. The end of the world happened already. How do you want to be now? Who can you become now? Those are better questions.

you hit the nail on the head, imo!

"how are anarchists reorganizing society in response to climate change? "

this anarchist has no desire to "reorganize society", only to avoid it at all costs as much as possible. maybe it will just "whither away" the way marxists say the state will. hahahahahahaha.....

you do realize that it is precisely "society" (its creation, expansion and perpetuation) that causes climate change, no? to think that the masses - much less those in power - will voluntarily change their entire ways of living and relating (in massively radical ways) in order to "save" some future generation of humanity, is imo completely delusional.

Climate change is a problem without a solution. A twenty percent decline in industrial activity over a short period will cause global temperatures to rise due to the aerosol masking effect.Stop burning coal and those aerosols will rapidly fall out of the atmosphere, causing global temperatures to go up in a just a few weeks.I have not heard primal anarchists or any other anti-civilization advocates discussing this dilemma. Rewilding will not save us from what McPherson describes as "abrupt, irreversible, and catastrophic" climate change.

Were you under the impression that all, or even most primitivists and anti-civ adherents hold the views that they do because they think it will solve the unsolvable dilemmas we face? Because, um, they don't....

it would make sense that talking about real world problems is better than talking about fictional ones, and yes primtivists and anti-civvers do talk about the views they have based on things that actually happen, unless i've been gaslighted by the matrix into thinking that a world full of humans and the crap they build is kinda shitty in service of the liberal agenda.

I'm not sure what you're on about there, but whatever it is it doesn't seem to have much at all to do with my comment. H stated: "Climate change is a problem without a solution," and "Rewilding will not save us from what McPherson describes as "abrupt, irreversible, and catastrophic" climate change." I'm anti-civ with primitivist leanings, and I am in full agreement. Thus, to the charge "I have not heard primal anarchists or any other anti-civilization advocates discussing this dilemma," I respond: So what? To the extent that they don't talk about it (many do, but we'll set that aside for now), it's probably because they agree that it is a problem without a solution. Should we then sit around discussing it? Or should we discuss how to repair local degraded habitats and how to work towards regenerative bio-regional food producing systems - things which we actually do have some degree of control over? Or is that too fictional for you?

That anti civvers want to address are unsolvable, just climate change. I would agree that regard. The things that both climate activists and anti civvers/primmies want fix are only really solvable by inhuman forces...or maybe a long and drawn out by people...

I just thought your critique was not very specific, and doesn't merit the snobby trolling that's the norm on here.

It's TRUE, we anti civvers are not too concerned with the fact that climate change is inevitable, because climate change is out of our control.

No, I was not very specific. In pointing out that H's entire comment basically rests on a strawman, specificity isn't needed. One need only say "you're making a strawman argument," which is essentially what I did. And no, doing so is not a form of trolling or snobbery. His comment was clearly a jab at anti-civers, albeit a fallacious one. If there was any trolling taking place, it was there. So, once again, you're comments are off-base and irrelevant. Can we be done now?

"One need only say "you're making a strawman argument"

but you didn't, SOT.

And i must object to that anyway, you can't just reduce all your attacks to straw men and expect any watchful or critical person to take you seriously. Feed the trolls with lead, not straw.

Turns out, you can point out a logical fallacy without evoking the specific name of that fallacy. Like I could say "try responding to my point, instead of calling me names." This would be equivalent to saying "you're argument is ad-hominem."

Also, calling out a strawman argument is not an attack. It's an objection. And yes, if the person makes a strawman argument and says little else useful beyond that, I can absolutely limit my objection to that alone. What happens in court when a faulty form of argumentation is used? It is pointed out (as an objection, not an "attack"), and immediately discarded. So, you strike out AGAIN. Maybe you're just trying to save face now, but either way, you're on a roll.

Name the anarchists that have discussed or written about global dimming- the aerosol masking effect- in the context of radical decentralization and the dismantling of industrial civilization? Zerzan? He has never mentioned it on Anarchy Radio or in any of his written works that I know of. Tucker? The same silence. Why? I don't know. They either don't know about it, or they do not accept the peer reviewed literature on the subject which challenges the anti-civ narrative at its core.I have to say I came to anarchy largely because of Zerzan's written works and still believe he is the most important anarchist writer in north America. Ironically or not, I support any efforts at ecological restoration and rewilding in the belief that these practices will become valuable if humans survive the sixth mass extinction which is being caused global techno-capitalism.

In the context of radical decentralization and the dismantling of industrial civilization, the coming climate catastrophe will not be averted, and may even exasperated through the effects of global dimming. Ultimately, however, this does not matter, because industrial civilization will collapse anyway at some point. If not by human choice, then by environmental constraints, carrying capacity overshoot, and the laws of thermodynamics. What we can say for certain, is that the sooner the system falls, the less of the remaining natural world will be destroyed. Therefore, even if there are consequences, we should wish for and work toward dismantling the system anyway, because the longer we wait, the worse the consequences will become. Rewilding is not a solution to these grotesque problems, but it is something that we can to build resilience and to reconnect to that which modern humans have tragically lost. There. I'm anti-civ, and I just wrote about it.

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